Tactical Firearms Training Secret #1-Airsoft

by David Morris on April 26, 2012

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by my recently released book, “Tactical Firearms Training Secrets.”

As any shooter can attest, ammo prices have shot through the roof over the last few years. I went to an indoor range near my house a couple of weeks ago with 1 gun to test/confirm some new equipment, shot for 20 or so minutes, and ended up paying close to $100! No…it wasn’t full auto. In fact, they only allowed 1 round per second. It was just that I had to use their ammo and targets and it was THAT expensive.

Because of prohibitive costs like that, I’ve transitioned more and more of my firearms training from live fire to using airsoft Police Tactical Pistols (PTP or Trainers). These are a class of airsoft guns that are made of metal, are the same size and weight as their real counterparts, and have the same controls, including safeties, slide locks, mag releases, as their real counterparts…and they even break down the same. In other words, these aren’t the clear plastic toys you buy at Target.

On a few separate occasions, I put airsoft training to the test by using ONLY airsoft for several weeks before training…once doing shoot house work and Simunition force on force with some SWAT guys and a couple of times with a group of MARSOC/former Force Recon guys. In every case, my airsoft training carried over to my live fire shooting and I was among the very top shooters, even though I hadn’t touched my real firearms for weeks before the training.

I’ll be brief today, but here are some of the big pluses and drawbacks of using airsoft trainers:

Pluses: + (just the basics)

Dry fire on steroids: It’s important to note that airsoft training is not a replacement for real shooting. You NEED to feel the recoil, hear the boom, know the feel of taking up slack on your trigger and the feel of trigger reset on your real firearms. A healthier and more accurate way to look at airsoft training is as dry fire training on steroids that happens to be a lot of fun.

Cost: High quality bbs are less than $20 for 4000 rounds, or just under 1/2 cent per round. You have to add gas to that cost, but it’s still less than a penny per round. Trainer Glocks, 1911s, etc. cost around $150 apiece and extra mags are $30-$40 apiece.

Frequency of training: I am able to shoot 100-200 rounds of airsoft EVERY DAY because the time/cost barrier of training is so low. I still shoot quite a bit of real lead, but I don’t have the time to shoot every day with my real firearms. Normally, when I go shooting, I shoot more rounds at one time to justify the travel time and/or range fees and cleaning time, but the frequency that I am able to train with airsoft allows me to build up and retain muscle memory much faster than shooting lead alone.

Variety of training: I practice my grip, presentation, sight acquisition, transitioning between targets, reloads, movement, odd angles, one handed, off hand, cornering, drawing form concealment while seated, and more…some of which just aren’t possible at most ranges.

Simplicity of training: I don’t have to drive to a range, pay for time, drive home, and clean my guns…I just get up from my desk and take pushup/shooting breaks throughout the day. That’s not possible for most people, but you can shoot down a hallway in your house or in your garage in the mornings and/or evenings even if you can’t shoot where you work.

Fun: I could do most of what I do with airsoft with snap caps and dry fire drills…but I never did dry fire training as much as I do airsoft training because airsoft training is FUN. It’s fun to hit targets, make holes, and knock things over, even if it is on a smaller scale than with a real gun.

Size & Weight: Since the airsoft trainers are the same size and weight of their real counterparts, you can use the same holsters that you normally use.

Social Proof: The Japanese steel target team trains on airsoft all year, comes to the US and shoots lead for just 2 weeks before meets, and places well every year. Several US military units and police departments are training with airsoft as well. I’ve talked with a state law enforcement official as he was buying a case of airsoft training guns and a case of magazines. They know that airsoft is an economical way to get exponentially more trigger time at a very low cost.

Recoil/Flinch: Shooting airsoft will expose and cure you of anticipating trigger break & recoil. While big dips of the barrel may be hidden with real recoil, it shows up immediately with airsoft. There’s no need for it with airsoft and you can train your mind to not flinch with a few hundred rounds of airsoft.

Training wives/kids/newbies to shooting: Since it’s fun, there’s no boom, smell, or recoil, airsoft is a great way to introduce people to shooting or to start teaching advanced techniques to current shooters. Since you’re eliminating the recoil and the boom, you can focus on fundamentals until they are learned and THEN transition to low caliber and defensive caliber firearms.

Drawbacks: –

It’s a toy: Face it…airsoft is a way to compensate for not having enough time or money to shoot the real thing as much as you’d like. It will never be as good as a real firearm. I resisted airsoft, tried it, and now have embraced it as a way to get a lot more trigger time. That being said, it’s better to get a lot of trigger time with an airsoft trainer than no trigger time with the gun you can’t afford or find the time to shoot.

Lack of recoil: The airsoft trainers do have recoil, but it’s nothing like a real firearm. This means that you can’t REALLY practice multiple shots because it’s much easier to reacquire your site picture after each shot. What you can do is transition between targets, shooting each one once, OR use airsoft training to develop your speed and focusing on follow through (reacquiring your site picture) after each shot.

Dropping mags: Airsoft trainer mags have gas cylinders in them…this makes them heavy and causes them to break when you drop them on hard surfaces. You basically need padded carpet wherever you intend on dropping mags during reloads. To clarify, picture a real magazine…it’s heavy when it’s full and light when it’s empty because most of the weight comes from the bullets. With airsoft, the little plastic bbs weigh .2 grams, so the weight changes very little as it goes from full to empty.

Authentic trigger feel: While the double action triggers and single action triggers work as they should, they just don’t feel like a real trigger. The tension builds up different, the break isn’t as precise as with a real firearm, and the reset isn’t quite as pronounced. That being said, the double actions that I have are good enough to practice drawing up the slack during the extension phase of my presentation and all of the airsoft trainers that I have shot can be used to do trigger reset drills.

Precision: With the airsoft trainer handguns, you’re not going to have much precision. My We Tech 1911 will shoot 1″-3″ groups at 25 feet out of the box. My KJ Glock is slightly less accurate. Both can be modified to shoot more accurately, but that hasn’t been a concern for me. Airsoft trainer rifles are another matter entirely. My Top Tech M4 will hold 8″ groups out to 80-100 yards when there is no wind.

Safety: There is a distinct possibility that you will learn bad safety habits with airsoft. Don’t. You must treat airsoft guns like the real firearms they represent. Never point an airsoft trainer at an object you don’t want to destroy (unless you are doing force on force training, which is beyond the scope of this article). Always use proper muzzle/safety discipline so that when you are handling real firearms you won’t have any bad habits creep in.

For myself, and thousands of others, the benefits FAR outweigh the drawbacks. I’m putting thousands of additional rounds downrange, imprinting solid skills in my subconcious, and doing it at a fraction of the time/money cost that I would doing live fire.

If the idea of being able to do effective tactical firearms training in the privacy and comfort of your own home, all while saving time and money, I want to encourage you to check out my newest book, “Tactical Firearms Training Secrets.”

If you are a fan of “Top Shot” from the History Channel, you’ll notice that Season 3’s winner, Dustin Ellermann is on the cover. Dustin is a great guy and he agreed to demonstrate the training techniques in the book.

This book covers the secrets to effective tactical training with not only airsoft, but also dry fire training and mental imagery so that you can maintain and/or improve your tactical shooting skills, no matter how expensive ammo gets or how much anti-gun legislation is passed. 

I feel quite comfortable in saying that this book has the power to have a bigger impact on your shooting ability of any book you have ever read. Why? Because it will help you get around the biggest obstacles to locking in and maintaining tactical firearms skills…time and money.  It’s also short enough at less than 100 pages that you’ll be able to finish the entire book in a few short sittings and be able to put many of the techniques to work immediately.

These tactics, techniques, and procedures are the very same ones that elite special operations units from around the globe, many with unlimited ammo budgets, like US Special Forces, SEALs, and Delta, Russian Spetsnaz, Israeli Shayetet 13, and British SAS use to train beginning and advanced tactics as well as maintain their edge.

Who else uses these tactics? Olympic athletes of all disciplines and competitive shooters, including the champion of Season 3 of The History Channel’s “Top Shot,” Dustin Ellermann, who you see on the cover and who graciously agreed to demonstrate the skills throughout.  And now you will get to use these same proven techniques for training and locking in tactical firearms skills as quickly as possible.

Some of you have been expecting the release of this book from me for almost 3 years now. Others were able to read a large part of it in a series of articles that I did for a print newsletter last year. Because of that, for the next couple of weeks, it’s going to be available on Amazon for under $10! In fact, Amazon has a special going where if you buy 4 eligible items, you get the lowest priced one for free…so if you pick up my Urban Survival Guide and a couple of other books while you’re there, you could even get Tactical Firearms Training Secrets for free.

Interested? Click on this link > “Tactical Firearms Training Secrets“< to go over to Amazon.com. It qualifies for Amazon Prime so you can get it delivered for free in 2 days and you can get the Kindle Edition immediately.

If you’ve used accurate size/weight airsoft tactical trainers in the past, please share your experiences by commenting below:

Until next week, God bless and stay safe.


David Morris


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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Robert Casey
April 27, 2012 at 5:50 am

Dear friend…

I sold my rifles years ago because of our need for cash to live. I have been disabled since 1984 and miss the pleasure in having a firearm and the proper skills to enjoy it. If you know of any manner which one may obtain a pistol or rifle at a low cost…please pass that information on to me.

May G_d bless you in your efforts to bring sound reliance for the individual on the proper use and custom of firearm possession in our beloved America.

Robert Casey


Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
April 27, 2012 at 11:50 am

You can buy an excellent used gun at a significant discount. Depending on the State you live in you can purchase directly from another individual. Figure out what you might be interested in. Then go to the manufacturer’s website and find out what they say it should sell for. Then go out on the web and find what the retailers are selling it for, this price will almost always be less than the suggested retail. With a gun showing little wear I would expect to pay 60-70% of actual retail. Offer less and work up. If they will not come down to the price you have set in your mind as the maximum then walk away, the next person will come down. Many people are told that guns hold their value. These people will often want full retail for a used gun. I explain that they own the five year old pickup of guns not the ’57 Chevy.


Vote -1 Vote +1JLA
April 28, 2012 at 2:28 am

Take a look at HiPoint firearms. They may be ugly as sin, but every one I have ever fired has been both extremely reliable & more than accurate enough to get the job done. A HiPoint carbine can be found for around $200 brand new, and HiPoint pistols can be found for even less. They are available in 9mm, .40S&W & .45ACP.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
April 28, 2012 at 8:05 am

I think that the first .22 I shot was a Hi Point. In any case, we bought it to shoot bird shot out of 35 or so years ago and I’m still shooting it today.


Vote -1 Vote +1JL
April 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I have a Hipoint .45 and have few complaints. I had to go to Hipoint to get a holster because “standard” ones won’t work. It didn’t cost much, though. The pistol is clunky and ugly, but is always fires and the rounds go where I point them. So, unless concealed carry is required, I can recommend this weapon (especially for the price).


Vote -1 Vote +1Scott
April 27, 2012 at 5:50 am

Airsoft is the best option around for daily practice, bar none. I have little experience with handguns and needed to practice for a qualification, I used an airsoft for 90% of my practice. Score: 248 out of 250, and a sharp shooter I ain’t. Not yet, anyhow.

I shoot Beretta, so I looked for a 92fs style airsoft. The feel is the same, and the sights are the same. While there are advantages to using CO2 or battery (AEG), I used a spring loaded version 92fs from Walmart: $15. Had to chamber every shot and re-acquire the target each time, which was good practice, too. I made a bb trap from a decent cardboard box by cutting out a hole slightly smaller than the target. Suspend an old towel from the middle of the box to absorb the energy of the bbs. Best targets: Redhead rifle targets from Bass Pro, $5 for pack of 20. Cheap and big with multiple targets. When I got better, I drew more of the smaller targets in the white space. I can put a lot of bbs through one target. With the bb trap, I have fewer (but not zero) bbs flying around the room, and can recover them easier for reuse.

Smaller problems seemed to be amplified on the airsoft, making it easier for me to identify problems, and forcing me to concentrate on correct form. I had a problem of jerking the gun to the left when I shot. I had to concentrate on a smooth trigger squeeze to solve the problem, great training for a real pistol.

There is a reason that they are called trainers: 100% of everything you learn with a airsoft transfers to a real handgun. As you say, it won’t cover 100% of everything you need to learn, but you will use everything you learn from an airsoft..


Vote -1 Vote +1Woolval
April 27, 2012 at 6:38 am

So where would I purchase myself an airsoft Police Tactical Pistols modeled after a Glock 19? For some reason I just seem to come up empty when searching for this. Frustrating…

Thanks for any help. I can definitely use a lot more training!



+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
April 27, 2012 at 7:28 am

My understanding is that Glock, in their infinite wisdom, sued to stop the import of air soft Glocks. You can still buy them from local air soft supply shops.

Incidentally, I’d suggest that you buy your air soft guns locally from a shop that repairs air soft and will warranty the guns you buy from them. One of the biggest reasons for this is that they quickly figure out which guns fall apart and which ones hold up over time.


Vote -1 Vote +1Michael
April 27, 2012 at 6:40 am

Great article. I haven’t used airsoft for very much “dry fire on steroids”. This is a great idea though. I’m going to plug this into my training and see how it goes. Like you said Force on Force is beyond this article so maybe it will be your next:) Airsoft is great to see and feel how quickly you can draw from concealed and get shots on target. Whether it be a man drawing a gun or running at you with a knife. It’s a whole lot different than trying to beat a timer with a buzzer.


Vote -1 Vote +1Col. John Baker
April 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

I was amazed to read your article on Airsoft weapons. Not only do I use my 1911 “WEE” but we use M4s and other type of airsoft weapons on our 8.4 acre battlefield playing tactical battles. Today’s airsoft “toys” can shoot at 400+fps half the speed of a 45acp. I use knock off Trijicon acog style red dot sights and can shoot someone over 50+ yards away accurately. Practicing tactics that would save your life in a real situation is most challenging. And I am 63 years old (Vietnam Vet). What mistakes we make playing airsoft could safe our lives one day in a real skirmish with real weapons. Because if you can shoot a target (another human being) with an airsoft weapon at some distance with speed and accurately while the tango is trying to prevent from being shot then this training would help in real situation, I feel. Yes, you don’t have the recoil, but with airsoft tactical battles one learns to use their brains in a battle situation in life and it is a far cheaper training tactic. The only problem we have is getting people out there who one to learn how to stay alive….


Vote -1 Vote +1Wmlroy
April 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

Our local militia has used airsoft in their training. Nothing like being shot at to get the old blood pressure up. Certainly helps with the ‘feeling’ and readjusting to real life situations. Great tool for training.


Vote -1 Vote +1John Leone
April 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Does anyone know if there is an airsoft version for any of the Springfield XD line of pistols?


Vote -1 Vote +1Stan Young
April 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Clicked on the Kindle link (4/27 at 20:45) but all that came up was the paperback. When is the Kindle link supposed to be active? The paperback link had a tag on the left side below the picture for “Tell the author you would like to have this book in Kindle form.”


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
April 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Thanks, Stan! I’ve fixed the link above, or you can click on this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007KN263Y/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=surviveinplac-20


Vote -1 Vote +1Steve
April 27, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I’ve been thinking about getting a sig with the exchange system so I can have a .40 but also use the .22 barrel to practice in the woods for only $20 for 500 rounds. Thoughts?


Vote -1 Vote +1Eddie Hinson
April 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I think a good .22 is better than an airsoft. I bought my grandsons the airsofts to play with, which are OK to do some practicing with, but a good .22 rifle and pistol can’t be beat for practice. Try squirrel hunting with a .22, this sharpens your skills and gives you practice with a real firearm with fairly cheap ammo. Also another animal to hunt is the wild turkey with a .12 gauge shotgun. If you can outfox a squirrel or mature gobbler, you will have a better chance of surviving a hostile situation where you are the hunted.


Vote -1 Vote +1Woolval
April 29, 2012 at 7:11 am

Steve, I know this is off topic, not discussing airsoft, but here’s my experience with a 22 conversion kit.

I can’t talk about a Sig, but I own a 22 conversion kit for my Glock 19. For me, ammo is the biggest factor in this kit, some works great, some is worthless. My experience is the Remington Golden Bullet is the most reliable, better than CCI. I’ve also used the Winchester 333 bulk ammo, it won’t cycle the slide, so I get FTE’s. But after about 80 I start to get malfunctions no mater what ammo I use… FTF, FTE, etc. Guess it’s good training, but it’s also a pain in the ass!

Recently I bought the Ruger SR22 and I’m loving it. The Ruger seems to eat almost any ammo I put thru it. However, the Winchester 333 performs better than the Remington Golden Bullet… just the opposite of my Glock conversion kit. About a week ago I went to the range and put around 100 rounds thru it, didn’t clean it, then yesterday I did a steel plate shoot with another 100 plus rounds (like I said, I need more practice!) and never had an issue.

Practice is good, so my two cents is go for it! But, from reading this article, airsoft can provide you lots of training for less money.

OK, back to my search for an airsoft pistol modeled after a Glock 19.


Vote -1 Vote +1John Irwin
April 27, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Your article on Airsoft emulators is very timely for me since I’m just coming up on the curve.
It doesn’t cost me much for the range; however, the ammo gets expensive when you use
several weapons. It takes me 45 minutes one way to the range. So I spend around 5 hours each time going there. Your approach has a lot of appeal and I think I will be going that way.

Keep me posted on all your correspondence and when we might be able to join ranks.

Keep up the good work.



Vote -1 Vote +1Leroy
April 27, 2012 at 11:50 pm

I have never tried Airsoft training. I may have to try it. When I can’t make it out to the range (i.e. no time or money) I dry fire using snap-caps/dummy rounds. It’s ok, but like Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrel sang “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”.


Vote -1 Vote +1James
April 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Just ordered the book for Amazon, David..Thanks for the great articles and professionalism with all you do.



Vote -1 Vote +1Sam Jones
May 1, 2012 at 10:39 am

Interesting article on airsoft. I agree that they are a good, less expensive method of tuning one’s skills. I have used air soft and found it helpful. However, there is still no substitute for actual live firing. However, even that practice could leave one unprepared. As you noted, most (all) ranges have very strict rules about shooting in only one direction, no rapid fire, and heaven forbid if one attempted to draw a gun and shoot. This leaves a gap in the level of skill that can be developed by regular range firing. SO, I have an answer….it’s called IDPA competition (International Defensive Pistol Association), and most areas in the US have active clubs and regular competitive matches. One can practice draw and shoot, multi-dimensional targets, etc,…and with the added measure of STRESS, since the shooter is on the clock. Check it out at IDPA.com.
Sam …Texas CHL Instructor…Active IDPA Shooter…USN Retired..


Vote -1 Vote +1jsp
May 3, 2012 at 8:11 am

Is there no e-version of your book? Would the Kindle version work on my I-phone/pad? Thanks for what you do.



Vote -1 Vote +1Evan
May 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm


The Kindle version will work on your phone/ipad. You just need to download the free Kindle app and then send it to your phone or ipad.




Vote -1 Vote +1Mac
May 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Hey David – Can you do something similar with pellet rifles and pistols? I keep looking for advice on these and know the good ones are pretty effective at varmint control and small game hunting. I saw in a documentary that the old Lewis and Clark expedition to discover the Pacific Ocean used air rifles to hunt deer.

Are there any air guns that you’d recommend for serious practice and some hunting along the way?


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